The US space agency (NASA) don’t allow themselves to get bugged. Since 2010, with the aim of reducing fuel bills for airlines, they have been trying to develop a coating for better aircraft air penetration. For that, NASA is hunting insects, because in flight, it is they, the culprits.
Mia Siochi, Materials Scientist, NASA Langley Research Center: interview in the video.
Insects therefore increase drag by disrupting the airflow. After laboratory testing on more than a hundred substances, in a desk-sized wind tunnel ("the bug gun"), and on parts of this test Boeing 757 a dozen times at the Langley Research Center, scientists have come up with a solution. This patent, deposited just a few days ago, attests to the fact. Thanks to the NASA-developed non-stick coating, airflow should be improved by 10 to 20%; leading to a 1 to 2% reduced aircraft fuel consumption.
So what is the composition of this coating? Just the right mix of chemicals giving it properties similar to those of the Lotus leaf, although much work remains to further improve the substance and make it affordable for airlines.